The Queen Who Endeared Herself to Millions

Millions of people are mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned for 70 years, longer than any other British monarch. It was truly a shock on Sept. 8 when we heard the news that the queen was no more. Here are just some of the reasons why her death has been felt so deeply around the world:

1. She died too young. Ninety-six may seem old to you, but that’s because you are measuring age in “commoner years.” Commoners are lucky if they live to see 80, but royals can live as long as their first-rate healthcare lets them. Royals have chefs and dieticians who ensure that they eat only high-quality food – and don’t scarf down a family-size bag of cheese puffs while binge-watching Bridgerton. Royals have personal trainers who help keep them in shape. The queen’s trainer showed up at Buckingham Palace every morning to make sure the queen maintained her daily regimen of walking 10 laps around the coffee table. That may not seem like much exercise to you, but that’s because you are measuring exercise in “commoner sweat.” Royals do not like to sweat. They have people to do that for them.

2. She modernized the monarchy. In 1992, she volunteered to pay income tax and capital gains tax. She allowed members of the royal family to get divorced and remarry. When the British media demanded more transparency from the royal family, the queen grudgingly permitted her granddaughters to wear sheer dresses.

3. She never cursed. No one ever heard her utter an expletive, not even a “blooming heck.” This is especially surprising when you consider whom she had for sons. Most moms would have run out of curse words before Charles and Andrew turned 5. But the queen kept her composure, expressing her dismay in a gentle manner such as, “Now Charles, you know you’re not supposed to sleep with anyone but the lass you married.”

4. She believed strongly in diversity and embraced all colors. Red, pink, yellow and green – she wore them all. She often wore matching hats with her dresses. The Toronto Star described her as a “fashion icon for the ages.” (By “ages,” they of course meant the Middle Ages.)

5. She met tens of thousands of people during her reign, giving each a smile or a friendly word or two. She had tea in Buckingham Palace with people of different backgrounds. On one occasion, she even had tea with Meghan Markle. She traveled all over the world, meeting citizens and leaders of countries that were once part of the British Empire and now part of the Commonwealth. Many of them treated her like she was still their queen, and in return, she treated them like they were still her subjects. (Minus any flogging for bad behavior, of course.)

6. She was careful with her criticism, whether she was meeting a respected leader or a tyrant clinging to power. Unlike her late husband, who was notorious for putting his foot in his mouth, she usually found the right words to endear herself to everyone but her daughters-in-law.

7. She didn’t retire from the throne, despite all the responsibilities. She continued to do the same job for 70 years, a job that didn’t allow her much freedom. She never complained that she couldn’t wash her own dishes, iron her own clothes or clip her own chin hair. She never lamented that couldn’t call her best friend and say, “It’s Friday night, Mildred! Let’s hit the bingo hall, what do you say?”

She held onto her crown for as long as she could. She did this out of a sense of duty, knowing that she owed it to the British public to postpone, as much as possible, the reign of King Charles III.

Yes, she died too young.

Image courtesy of Photo by Adam Gasson / Commonwealth Secretariat

Share this post